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Ezra Pound discussion list of the University of Maine <[log in to unmask]>
Sarah Graham <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 13 Sep 1999 15:09:05 +0100
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Ezra Pound discussion list of the University of Maine <[log in to unmask]>
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-----Original Message-----
From: Jonathan Morse <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask] <[log in to unmask]>
Date: 10 September 1999 02:16
Subject: A sociological observation
>Just out of curiosity: are there any women on this list? I've been a
>subscriber for a year or so, and in that time I can't recall a single
>contribution posted by a woman.
>Does that observation seem accurate, colleagues? If it is, do you suppose
>it might be worth speculating about?
Well, I'm here, and I'm female, and I suspect that I'm probably in the
minority on this list. Whether that makes Pound scholarship a "boys' club"or
not, I don't know, though my (mischevious) temptation is to ask: what area
of scholarship (or life, come to that) isn't a boys' club? I suppose a club
will be judged on whom it allows to join (a nod to Groucho Marx required
here) and how it treats its members and I must say that this list is not
always the most welcoming of (virtual) places. I asked a question recently
about Omar Pound, just trying to confirm a fact hinted at in a book review,
and was widely attacked for raising trivial gossip - though a few members
did answer the question and presumably everyone  who wasn't interested
either way simply kept quiet. Over the weeks that followed, more than one
'scholarly discussion' nose-dived into name-calling, often provoked by
seemingly uncontroversial questions or observations. None of which explains
why Pound scholarship seems to be male-dominated, but it does suggest that
the club constituted by this list has a particular group 'personality',
which may or may not accord with the individual personalities that make up
the membership; Pound scholarship as it is represented by this list can be a
cold place indeed. As to the popularity of Pound, well, I've been working on
H.D. and Pound for the last couple of years and the response I receive when
someone (male or female) finds out about my project is always 'H.D. -
interesting; Pound - no thanks'. The reasons are usually cited as
ideological or that the poetry is simply too complex (with a subtext that
unravelling the complexity doesn't repay the time and effort required) - and
these are comments from post-graduates or scholars already at work in
universities. Perhaps this is a British phenomenon, but it doesn't seem to
apply to H.D. or Williams or Stevens (or even, to an extent, Eliot). One
tutor here teaches a course that includes H.D. and Pound along with other
'moderns' but she tells me that the (undergraduate) students "don't like"
Pound nearly as much as the others, a feeling she agrees with and (possibly)
communicates to the students.
Anyway, I'd be very interested to hear any responses list members may have
to offer on these comments. That Pound scholarship is male-dominated is, I
think, a fact (if you can produce a short list of work on Pound by women,
then I think that proves the point that it is the exception) and I'd like to
know why. I suspect that his popularity as a subject for study (by men or
women) may be in decline, or at the very least not noticeably increasing;
again I don't know why and I may only be seeing the British picture - EP's
work is hard to get here and his presence on poetry courses (such as there
are) pretty minimal. But it doesn't take much to push a writer back into
fashion, and that could easily happen with Pound.
Sarah Graham